Monday, December 31, 2007

Ed Hochuli is the Greatest NFL Referee Ever

Ed Hochuli is one of the few NFL referees who even casual fans know by name--and if you don't know him by name, you almost certainly would recognize him: he's the referee with the legendary "guns" for arms who is able to give the most precise and accurate explanations for even the strangest plays; the "guns" can perhaps be explained by the fact that the 6-1, 215-pound Hochuli played linebacker at UTEP, while his way with words probably stems from his training as a lawyer.

Hochuli reached a new level during Sunday's Atlanta-Seattle game. Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck fumbled and then general chaos ensued, leaving everyone in the stadium wondering who should get the ball and where it should be spotted. If Bud Selig had been the referee, he would have shrugged and declared the game a tie. Fortunately, Hochuli stepped to the mike and restored order with this explanation:

"The ball was initially recovered by Atlanta and it was fumbled again. It was never regained by anyone. Therefore, it's Atlanta's ball--however, it was a fumble forwards that went out of bounds; therefore by rule it returns to the spot of Atlanta's fumble. It's Atlanta's ball there, first down." Of course, Hochuli punctuated this statement by signaling first down with one of his massive "guns." If there has been a better NFL refereeing moment--other than Ben Dreith's legendary "giving him the business down there" call--I haven't seen it.


J-Red said...

Most importantly, that's the correct ruling.

At East Coast Bias we love Easy Eddie Hochuli.

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to a petition of his Sept 14 game. He did not perform well.

David Friedman said...


You understand that my post's title is tongue in cheek, right? Hochuli has been one of the league's top refs for many years but I did not do some scientific survey to determine that he is absolutely the greatest.

Obviously, he got the call wrong at the end of the Denver-San Diego game. Once he blew his whistle, by rule there was nothing that he could do other than put the ball at the 10 yard line, as he did. The NFL grades every official and officiating crew after each game, so regardless of your petition he will obviously receive the appropriate grade for that particular call.

While this was clearly a mistake, it is important to remember that over a period of years Hochuli has consistently graded out very highly. If you did your job very well for many years would you want/expect to be fired after one mistake? The grade that Hochuli receives for this game will affect his chances to do playoff games this year, so it will affect Hochuli's compensation.